Hope appearing in Wigan
The Engage in Education scheme is proving a class act in helping struggling high school students.
Launched last September in Britain’s foremost Rugby town of Wigan, the programme is enabling young people such as Sean Brown to tackle their demons and convert their promise into achievement.
Sean Brown and Ryan Bannister
The 15-year-old who has played Second Row for his town and area teams dropped the ball whilst at high school and was excluded three times. Now regretting playing truant and, “not knuckling down” the would-be builder is fully focused on his future having cemented a place on the Rathbone course. Enjoying the smaller classes and the opportunity to go on work placement, Sean said: “Rathbone is much better than school. I’m going to buy a van and run my own business. Until then, I’m going to do a paid apprenticeship and save my money so I can set up on my own.”
Engage in Education sees students like Ryan plus others such as potential construction worker George Lane and promising office worker Josh Crowe, dividing their time between school, work placements and sessions at the Princess Street training base. Classes are much smaller in size and the work often project-led.
Also enjoying a hand-break turn in his fortunes is wannabe car mechanic, Ryan Bannister. Currently on study leave ahead of his exams, all the indications are that the sparky 15-year-old will be another of the course’s fledgling successes. Said Ryan: “I lacked motivation at high school but then the Head told me about Rathbone. It’s practical and I concentrate more.”
The Wigan scheme is run by former Chorley tutor, Lisa Fazackerley, who helped pioneer the much-celebrated Lancashire Education Alternative Provision (LEAP) programme in West Lancashire. “We have to accept that for some children, traditional education doesn’t suit” commented Lisa. “There has been real buy-in from the high school in Wigan. It is not failure to admit that a pupil needs to be in alternative provision. It’s about acknowledging that for some young people, education is not just about Pythagoras’ Theorem!”